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How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Fitday Editor
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When beginning a weight loss program, the first step you might take is to create monthly weight loss goals. Deciding how much weight you would like to lose each month is important for setting up a realistic diet and exercise program that will offer you lasting, permanent weight loss. It's common knowledge that losing weight too fast can lead to swift weight regain since dieting does stress the body. Setting realistic goals now will help you to keep the weight off later.

Don't Pay Attention to Advertisements

Advertisements for diet products usually begin with a client suggesting that she lost a significant amount of weight lightning quick and went from a "size 20 to a size 6!" And while it is definitely possible to lose a significant amount of weight, the timeframes suggested by most diet promotions are quite unrealistic.

No matter your current weight, it is usually a bad idea to lose any more than around 1.5 pounds a week. Although the exact number of calories you need to burn in excess may vary slightly, a 1.5 pound weekly loss means burning about 5000 calories more than you take in. To put that number into perspective, burning 5000 calories is like a 130 pound female doing 15 hours of aerobics!

If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, realistically, you should aim to lose no more than 1.5 pounds a week. This means about 6 pounds per month and an overall timeframe of approximately 8 months. That might seem like a long time, but losing weight at a slow and steady pace is the best way to keep those pounds off.

Consider the Percentages

The number of pounds you can lose each month and overall can also be influenced by your current weight and how many pounds you would like to lose. A 200 pound female who loses 10 pounds in a month has lost 5% of her bodyweight whereas a 150 pound female who loses 10 pounds in a month has lost 6.5% of her bodyweight.

Generally speaking, the lower your starting weight, the more conservative your monthly weight loss goal should be. In addition, your current weight and weight loss goal should be something to consider each month since a static monthly goal will result in increasingly difficult weight loss should your goals remain too ambitious.

Although your monthly goal might not change significantly, it is important to realize that the closer you come to a weight loss goal, the slower your weight loss may be.

Realize That Every Body is Different

Teaming up with a weight loss buddy is a great way to keep motivated, but your goals should be created from considering your own weight loss needs - not the needs of a weight-loss partner. If your friend wants to lose 25 pounds and your goal is to lose 50 pounds, be aware that your friend may reach her goal first and that increasing the amount of weight you want to lose each month to match your friend's goal is not a healthy idea.

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